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Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Baking Essentials for Your Pantry
By Mary Sauer
Becoming an exceptional baker requires time and patience, often recreating the same recipes over and over again until they are just right. New and experienced bakers alike need supplies on hand which allow them to follow inspiration at a moment's notice—to tweak each recipe just so or to throw in the towel on a creation gone south and start from scratch.
Whether your pantry is a large closet or a set of recently remodeled cabinets, the team at Modernize believes the extent to which you stock your pantry comes down to how often you plan to bake, as well as the recipes you want to work into your regular rotation. So, for novice bakers we have created a list of basic ingredients, and then we threw in a few speciality items for bakers looking to take their skills in the kitchen to the next level.
Dry Goods Pantry
- All-Purpose white flour will be the cornerstone of your pantry—you will use this for more recipes than not. Keep plenty on hand and store in an airtight container to keep it fresh and free from bugs.
- Rolled oats is a common ingredients in granolas, breads, cookies and more. For baking, choose a non-instant option.
- At first, salt may seem to be a strange ingredient for baking, especially sweet treets. However, salt adds flavor dimension to baked goods, steadies the fermentation of yeast breads, and increases the shelf life of baked goods.
- As leavening agents, baking powder and baking soda are both essential for adding air to cakes, pancakes, and other baked goods.
- When it comes to sugar, it is best to keep granulated, confectioners, and brown sugar all on hand. Each sugar serves a different purpose and adds a different flavor to recipes. These, too, should be stored airtight to increase shelf life and keep sugar-loving bugs away.
- Dutch process cocoa powder belongs in every pantry. Use cocoa for super chocolatey brownies and flourless cakes and cookies.
- Pure vanilla extract is used commonly in cookies, cakes, and other treats. When in doubt, always buy the pure extract over cheaper imitation extract.
- Keep your spice cabinet well stocked with the most commonly used spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
- Adding a few specialty items to your pantry really comes down to which recipes you love to bake or want to try. Expand your pantry to include dried fruits, various flavors of chocolate chips, shredded coconut and coconut oil, whole wheat all-purpose flour, and perhaps a few additional extracts such as almond or peppermint, which add endless opportunities for more specialized baking.
Baking Items which Belong in the Fridge
There are a few items which are best to keep on hand in your fridge at all times if you plan to bake regularly. These items include:
- Eggs, which are best for baking when brought to room temperature before use.
- Unsalted butter should also be kept at room temperature and may need removed from the fridge several hours in advance.
- When choosing milk for baking, always opt for the creamier, more flavorful whole milk. Consider expanding your dairy options to include sour cream, heavy cream, and buttermilk.
- Store active dry yeast in the fridge and greatly extend its shelf life.
- Choose specialty items such as a cream cheese for frosting and jams or preserves for tarts.